Understanding your customer is like playing a game of chess, except that everyone can win. Playing the game well involves knowing and watching your customer in anticipation of their moves, and always having counter-moves at the ready. And just like chess, the more moves each player makes, the better they know each other and the higher their level of friendly play.
This is the story of today’s technology needs across many markets like entertainment, retail, and financial services. To serve those needs, there is an entire industry of companies that measure and analyze consumer characteristics, behavior, and preferences. Using very high-end data gathering and analytics, these companies were the pioneers of Big Data and have been following what consumers watch and buy for more than 100 years.
Knowing is Half the Battle
In the world of market research, knowledge is revenue. The combination of characteristics (AKA demographics), behavior, and preferences give brands an uncanny ability to predict response rates to defined scenarios, known as offers. That ability to predict allows customers of market research firms to set up systems that can monitor a host of data, both at rest in application databases and data warehouses and in real time. When known patterns are spotted, a combination of people and machines go to work to capture the opportunity (an up-sell or discount) or to avoid a risk (customer churn).
Market research has never been more empowered and dynamic than it is today. As more and more consumer behavior takes place in digitally visible places, the amount of information that customers willingly share is rapidly increasing. Aided by loyalty programs that grant permission to gather data in return for brand-associated benefits, market research is able to position itself as both the brand and consumer’s ally in market success.
Not Your Father’s Market Research
We’ve come a long way since the focus group and the set-top boxes that tracked consumer response. Today’s market research is the land of reports that span the globe, and deliver near instantaneous insight into everything from weather and seasonal affects to “shelf space health” in each and every geography. Ensuring success requires integration strategies that are best in class, visualized analytics that make data discovery easy, and a host of other high-end technologies.
Perhaps most significantly, market research firms are far enough out on the leading edge of technology that they are an unfriendly environment for cumbersome packaged applications. Instead, their investment in a nimble infrastructure is an intentional approach to enable any business strategy, data source, or market insight to be quickly enabled with lightweight apps on a high-speed infrastructure. It’s safe to say that the moves and designs being used in market research are the technologies most likely to be deployed through other industries in the coming years, as Big Data and analytics works their way through each and every industry.
To learn more, read the Gartner Magic Quadrant for On-Premise Application Integration Platforms.